Prehistoric Settlements and Tombs in Oman (World Heritage)

By | December 16, 2022

The remains of the Bronze Age settlements and necropolises date from the 3rd millennium BC. The necropolis of Al-Ain with its numerous beehive-shaped graves indicates that this area was once densely populated and played a major role in copper processing. Check clothingexpress for information about World Heritage Sites in Oman.

Prehistoric Settlement and Tombs in Oman: Facts

Official title: Bat fortress with the Bronze Age settlement of Al-Khutm and Al-Ain, the city of the dead
Cultural monument: Traces of settlement and burial sites on the edge of the western and eastern al-Hadjar Mountains, originally up to 8 m stacked graves in beehive shape, among others. 20 well-preserved tomb towers near Al-Ain, as well as rectangular ruins of stone buildings in Bat
Continent: Asia
Country: Oman
Location: Al-Ain, Bat and Al-Khutm, northwest of Bahla, east of Ibri
Appointment: 1988
Meaning: important early traces of settlement and Neolithic necropolis

Prehistoric Settlements and Tombs in Oman: History

4th-3rd Jtsd. V. Chr. Planting the grave fields
3rd millennium v. Chr. other burial grounds with additions such as bronze and pearls

The mystery of the beehives

As diverse and varied as the mountain ranges and wadis of the al-Hadjar Mountains in Oman are, one repeatedly comes across similar, more or less well-preserved remains of prehistoric buildings: round buildings as high as a man made of stone slabs with domes and a small opening at the bottom – oversized ones Similar to beehives. In total there are several thousand round buildings that are scattered over the barren, vegetation-free foothills of the mountains and suggest the question: who built them, when and for what purpose?

Archaeological sites of Bat with the Bronze Age settlement of Al-Khutm and Al-Ayn, the city of the dead

The burial mounds on the edge of the western and eastern al-Hadjar Mountains in Oman are important early traces of settlement and Neolithic necropolis from the 3rd millennium BC. Chr.

The densest collection of these buildings can be found in the region between Bat, Al-Khutm and Al-Ain. Together with Stone Age settlement remains, foundations of tower structures and collective graves, this region represented an interesting challenge for archaeologists to solve questions about early human settlement areas.

Their investigations very quickly showed that it was the largest contiguous area of ​​settlements and necropolises from the 3rd millennium BC. The “beehives” are a form of burial from the so-called Hafit period from 3500 to 2700 BC. They were replaced by the collective graves of the subsequent Umm-an-Nar culture, which can also be found near Bat. Life flourished in this seemingly inhospitable region for one and a half thousand years, then suddenly all traces of human settlement disappeared again. New riddles arose: What prompted people at that time to settle here of all places? What did they live on? Then why did they disappear so abruptly? The answer to these questions should solve a much larger archaeological puzzle.

For decades, experts wondered where the high cultures of Mesopotamia and the Indus Basin were supplied with the important raw material copper in the third millennium BC. Although far apart, they obtained it from the same source, as analyzes of copper finds on site showed. Sumerian and Akkadian cuneiform tablets tell of boats bringing the copper from a land beyond the horizon called Magan, but they did not know exactly where this fabled land was supposed to be.

In 1974, while searching for mineral resources in the al-Hadjar Mountains, Canadian geologists came across numerous traces of copper mining and processing from days long past. The German Mining Museum in Bochum then decided to undertake a five-year research project that began three years after the discoveries made by scientists from the New World. A detailed examination of the slag heaps accumulated at the copper mining sites showed that around 4,000 tons of copper were produced in the period in question, but above all in the Umm-an-Nar period, referred to as black copper due to the presence of impurities. The composition of Omani copper was identical to that found in Ur and Sumer as well as in the area of ​​the Indus basin. Thus, the proof was provided

As long as the copper trade was profitable, the arduous life in this remote mountain region was evidently worthwhile. With the loss of importance of copper as a raw material and the decline of Sumer, the copper market collapsed around 2000 BC. Why the settlements that were inhabited for a long time were subsequently abandoned remains unexplained to this day. The slowly falling copper sales alone can hardly have done this. Perhaps environmental damage as a result of the smelting has also permanently impaired life there.

Prehistoric Settlements and Tombs in Oman